Posts Tagged ‘#tech

16
Feb
17

Canon 1DX mark 2

canon-1dx-mkii_option-2_2

This is one blog that I’ve not been looking forward to writing. As a proud owner of a 1DX myself I am gutted that the Mk2 has even been produced to be honest. But as I can’t stop progress, I knew it would happen sooner or later. Inevitably, the Mk2 is better than the original as you would expect.

For those of you in the know, Canon name their cameras in the reverse order numerically so the lower the number the better the camera, hence the 1 series denotes this as Canons flagship model. If I am to be honest I believe the 1DX was a photojournalist’s camera, built to be used every day in whatever environment and whatever weather the operator found themselves in, from the touchline of a rugby match to the fence outside Buckingham Palace these cameras are built to work and to work hard.

We’ve received so many enquiries about the Mk2 that we couldn’t disappoint you any longer. I do love this about Pixipixel, we are a rapidly growing company but still listen to you folks, our customers, and respond to your requests, so keep on telling us what you want.

Anyway on with the blog (and remember this is hurting me more to write than it is for you to read). As I said above the 1DX mk 2 is the new Canon DSLR flagship, it may not have the resolution of some of its “lesser” siblings like the 5DS or 5DR but it has (almost) the ability to shoot in the dark and for me that’s more useful than massive files. I’m pleased to say, that although the pixel count has increased significantly (now 20.2mp) this miraculous ability to shoot using higher ISO’s in gloomy, dull or dark situations is as good as ever, in fact its better.

The Mk2 has improved video capabilities too now allowing for 4k 60p capture, making it a genuine option for you moving image folks. 120p can be achieved in full HD for your slow motion creativity and truly amazing AF tracking keeps the subject pin sharp. A new touch screen allows for easy accurate focus and this works seamlessly with all Canon EF lenses.

1dx-mkii_option1

If shooting faster than a Gatling gun is your bag then look no further, the Mk2 can shoot at 14 fps with full AF / AE tracking or up to 16 fps in live view. This is thanks to the new DIGIC 6+ processors and a new mirror drive system. If you use the latest Cfast 2.0 media then a burst of 170 uncompressed 14-bit RAW images can be captured almost before you knew you were trying.

I find it hard to believe that Canon could have improved the auto focus over the Mk1 but they have. Now with 61 selectable AF points (including 41 cross type and 5 dual cross type) and advanced A1 Servo AF III + and improved EOS intelligent tracking you really don’t have much of an excuse to miss that vital sharpness. Even when you choose to shoot at f8 all 61 points are at your disposal including 21 cross type sensors. She really is an impressive focusing beast. I could take my glasses off and still get everything sharp I reckon.

A built in GPS system with automatic time-zone updates is a neat inclusion (should you ever get lost or lose your watch) and lightning fast Superspeed USB 3.0 and Gigabit connectivity via Ethernet or the optional WFT-E8 WiFi adaptor caters to numerous workflow styles.

Brucie coolness rating has to be a well-deserved 10 out of 10 as you would expect from a Canon top of the line body, as much as the little green monster inside me wants to mark it down I really cant. Ok so I’m jealous because its better than my camera but you needn’t be because we got it in for you, yes YOU so pop in and let your inner paparazzi have some fun.

 

Many thanks BB

25
Jan
17

Wind Machines

Well I never for a moment realised how much was involved in a wind machine, or how hard it is to find any information regarding them and their use.

I will provide you all with a simple comparison between a range of the units that we hire. Anyway below is my take on the subject and the technical details.

I guess the most important thing that I have learned regarding wind machines is that it’s not all about power and the amount of air moved.

We need to think about wind machines in terms of spread and power, much like a light.

For example do you want your wind machine to blow the hair of just one model or are you trying to flutter a group? Obviously if you are just aiming at one model then a narrow channel of wind is great but if you are going for a group “blow” then a wider spread would be better.

Power is obvious, the harder it blows the more movement you will get in the subject but control is the key here, what you are looking for is the ability to vary the intensity of the wind from a gentle breeze to a full on hurricane and varying levels in between.

There are other factors to consider such as the method of control; use a DMX or a remote? The size, weight, and the amount of noise it makes during operation need to be thought about in relation to your project.

Also a rapid on or off “bump/gust” feature is useful. For example, in a film scene when a door is opened or closed, a rapid on/off feature would be useful.

And finally, the ability to disperse smoke, fog, fake snow, or dust (normally fullers earth) without destroying the machine is a bonus.

Personally I am a great enthusiast for waving a ½ poly board up and down for most “normal” looking movements in a models hair, its very basic but also very cheap and very effective for a one-off breeze of air. Having said that we are in the business of getting equipment out on hire so lets not recommend that too often and needless to say wind machines are far more consistent and precise and also don’t complain about having aching arms by lunchtime.

Detailed tech specs for our stocked units can be found at the end of this article.

The Bowens units are a “point and shoot”; they are neat and compact and have variable speed but do not allow for adjusting the spread of wind. The basic unit (now discontinued) has a corded remote and its two bigger brothers have wireless remotes.

The Reel EFX Turbo units both have an adjustable spread facility and a burst function, but no remote control.

The Mole Richardson is the big daddy of our range and has a bump function to rapidly increase the power and produce a blast above the set output. A DMX control and an “almost instant-off function” are standard features. It also has an integrated radial-vein collimator that narrows the spread of the wind but can be removed for a wider dispersal. This is the only unit we have that is actually recommended for the dispersal of dust. Exhaust fans from a plant hire store are great for this but are far less controllable.

1. Bowens Jet stream

Power Requirements 120V, 50/60 Hz, 2.5 Amps
Maximum Power 2,500 RPM, 940 CFM

 

1

2. Bowens Jetstream 250

Output at 1 m 8MPS
Max Power 240V
Control Cable Length Wireless Remote
Length 315mm
Width 260mm
Height 260mm
Weight 9.6kg

2

3. Bowens Jetstream 350

Output at 1 m 7MPS
Max Power 240V
Control Cable Length Wireless Remote
Length 390mm
Width 365mm
Height 365mm
Weight 13.3kg

3

4. Reel EFX Turbo 2

Motor: Brushless, AC, Ball bearing

Power: 110 – 125v/4 amp or 220v/2 amp (50 – 60) cycle.  RPM 3450  CFM 2000

Controls: Solid state speed control, one touch blast

Weight: 20lbs

Mounting: Floor stand with adjustable tilt and universal mount, C stand, Junior stand

Dimensions: 14″L x 19″W x 22″H

Peak Velocity: (Focused Beam): 20mph at 10ft

Focused Beam: 10 degrees (3.5foot diameter beam at 10ft)

Flood: 45 degrees (8ft beam at 10ft)

 

5

5. Reel EFX Turbo 4

 

Motor: 2 HP Baldor® Premium Efficient 3-Phase

Power: 110 – 125v/4 amp or 220v/2 amp (50 – 60) cycle.  RPM 3450  CFM 2000

Speed Control: Solid-state variable-frequency drive with active silent smart-switching & active power-factor correction

DMX Control: USITT-compliant DMX 512 w/5-pin XLR

Weight: 54 lbs

Mounting: steel floor stand with spud mount

Dimensions: 22″ x 24″

 

7

 

6. Mole Richardson

Construction Sheet, Tubular Steel, 3 Blade Fan, 15′ power cable

Removable 1-1/8″ yoke pin

Rating 110-240VAC or DC, 3.25 Amps, on-off toggle switch on housing side

6″ Rheostat fan speed control switch

Rectifier with capacitor for AC or DC operation

Dimensions Housing: 26.25″ Diameter x 20″ Long (66.6 x 50.8 cm)
  Weight 88 lbs (40 kg)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

22
Nov
16

KOTM – Matte Boxes

Matte Boxesmattbox

 

Hi, folks, today I want to talk about Matt Boxes and before I get started I must admit that they are something that falls right into a gap in my knowledge. Being a stills kind of guy I am used to using lens hoods to avoid lens flare and apart from using the correct one for the lens there really is nothing much to learn about them, however, as normal the moving image world is somewhat more complicated. Luckily I have an entire department of camera wizards to help me out so I thought it was about time I got myself educated in this important accessory.

 

So firstly a Matte box is used for much the same reason as a lens hood, and that is to stop unwanted light from hitting the front of the lens and causing issues such as lens flare, they differ from photographic lens hoods but essentially do the same job. Matte boxes tend to be more generic than lens hoods that are generally lens specific. This is an advantage as you only need to lug around one matte box for all the lenses on a job as opposed to carrying a different lens hood for each and every lens that may be used (I always seem to forget the lens hoods when I pack my equipment and then need to find room for them which is a pain as they are bulky, fragile and certainly not cheap for a plastic tube.

 

The first thing I notice is that matte boxes are not circular as lens hoods are but are oblong (my mission to revive the word oblong as it’s so much better than a rectangle). This is due to the matte box being a generic hood designed to fit a multitude of lenses as compared to a lens hood that can be manufactured to an exact field of view for the lens in question.

They also tend to have adjustable flaps on the front edge just like a set of barn doors on a light. These are known as French Flags or occasionally French Flaps (I prefer flaps as I think it’s an Australian expression). Now don’t start, French flaps is actually a bookbinding term originally and not rude at all. They allow for more flexibility to block light than the fixed form of a lens hood, this is necessary when the one box is to be used with many different lenses.

 

The other main difference between hoods and boxes is that matte boxes are designed to hold filters. Us stills guys tend to screw our filters directly onto the front of the lens and if we need more than one we stack them together sometimes causing vignetting, Cinematographic filters tend to be larger and square or oblong in shape allowing for multiple amounts to be used without this problem arising, they are inserted into slots or trays in the matte box itself.

 

Now we can separate matte boxes into a couple of types, clip on being ones that attach directly to the front of the lens and others that attach to a rod system. For those uninitiated in the cinematographic world, a rod system is literally two metal rods that attach under the camera and offer support for accessories such as batteries and of course matte boxes. The clip on matte boxes are light in weight and normally have fewer filter slots than the rail system equivalents that are generally larger and heavier. We need to use the rail system with these larger matte boxes due to their weight that lenses are not designed to support.

 

Now remember that rod systems come in two main diameters 15 and 19 mm and needless to say some matte boxes will fit on both but some will only fit on one or the other so this is something we need to check before selecting a particular unit.

 

Another thing to think about is how many filters you are going to need to use at any one time and ensure that the matte box you select has enough slots.

 

Various adaptor rings are available to fit between the front of the lens and the matte box or a flexible fabric alternative can be used, these are known humorously as nun’s knickers! (I could not possibly do a blog about matte boxes and not mention these).

For obvious reasons, the lighter smaller clip on units is recommended for hand-held work and the larger heavier ones for when the camera is on a tripod etc.

 

One thing I have learnt is that most matte boxes come with a set of mattes, these are thin black plates with various sized holes cut into them (letterbox style) and they can be fitted to the matte box to help adapt it to the particular lenses field of view, bigger hole for a wider angle and Visa-versa, this is so simple that I think it’s clever, as a firm believer of the KISS principle that is.

 

So that’s about it I will put a list together of what matte boxes we carry and how many and what size filters they can hold and so on for all our reference.

Clip On 15mm Rods 19mm rods Filter size Number of trays Other
Chrosziel MB 450

 

NO YES NO 4 X 5.46 2
Arri LMB 25

 

YES NO NO 4 X 5.46 2 OR 3 ONLY HAS TOP FLAG
Arri LMB 15

 

YES NO NO 4 X 5.46 2 OR 3
Arri LMB 6

 

YES NO NO 6 X 6 2 OR 3 HAS STEP DOWN FRAME TO PV SIZE

GOOD FOR WIDER LENSES

Arri MB 29

 

YES NO NO 4 X 5.46 2 OR 3 AND 138 MM CIRCULAR
Arri MB 20

 

YES YES YES 5.65 x 5.65 1, 2, OR 3 GOOD FOR WIDER HD LENSES
Arri MB 19

 

YES YES YES 4 X 5.46 2 OR 3 AND 138 MM CIRCULAR
Arri MB 18

 

YES YES YES 4 x 4 , 4 x 5.65 AND 4.5 ROUND 2, 3, or 4

 

AND 138 MM

Arri MB 16

 

NO YES NO 4 X 5.46 3
Arri MMB 2

 

NO YES YES 4 X 5.46 MORE FOR STILLS
Arri SMB 2

 

NO YES YES 4 X 5.46 1, 2, OR 3
Arri SMB 1

 

YES YES YES 4 X 5.46 1, 2, OR 3
VIV 3 stage

 

YES YES YES 4 X 5.46 1, 2, OR 3

AND 138 MM

Missfit Clip on 3 stage

 

Backlight 6

 

YES NO NO 6 X 6 3 GOOD FOR WIDER LENSES
4 x 4 Van Dieman Mosquito

 

4 X 4 1 or 2
Bright Tangerine Atom

 

YES YES 4 X 5.46 2 GOOD FOR MOVI / RONIN, OUR LIGHTEST WEIGHT MATTE BOX

 

Now remember this pearl of wisdom I found online “While nobody will notice that you’ve used a matte box, the important thing is that nobody will notice that you didn’t use one but should have”, wise words indeed.

 

Now Matte boxes don’t really warrant a BCR collectively but I feel that French Flaps and Nuns knickers deserve some score in their own right so let’s rename the BCR from Brucie Coolness Rating to Brilliant Crude or Rude and give them 5 points each making the score a maximum 10.

 

Cheers guys merry shooting BB.

 

06
Oct
16

KOTM- Cambo Actus DB2 View Camera

Brucie Blogger is back with Kit of the Month!!

Actus DB eh so what do you think the DB stands for?

cambo actus.jpg

Well, I presume its “Digital Back” and nothing to do with “the canine’s orbs” as I first thought. Having said that the latter would also suffice as a good description, as this really is the DB’s when it comes to modern view camera offerings.

 

The Actus DB2 has evolved from Cambo’s Actus series of view cameras that are designed to be used in conjunction with mirror-less cameras and DSLR’s. The new DB2 can still be used with a DSLR on the back but as it is equipped to take a Phase one IQ3 100 mp back I don’t suppose we will see a DSLR attached very often. In fact,we are not going to rush out and buy an adaptor for DSLR’s unless one of you has a mega hire needing it and then perhaps we could have our arms twisted.

camboa2.jpg

Despite my vintage, I came into photography towards the end of the view camera era, I remember selling off the ones we had in Australia while they still had some decent value and recall being gutted as I wanted to play with one more myself.

Great quality tilt shift lenses by Canon and Nikon and have gone some way to replacing them but can only go so far, nothing can really compete with the ultimate image control that a good view camera can deliver.

 

So Cambo has been clever by coupling a modern take on the view camera with today’s megapixel top end digital backs and they seem to have done a lovely job of it too.

 

 

camboa3.jpg

Small size and a beautiful mover

 

 

 

 

mradams.jpg

Not exactly a compact Mr.Adams is it?

The first thing you notice about the DB2 is its size, far from sticking out like, well like the DB’s it’s rather diminutive, fitting nicely into the palm of your hand. It’s a far cry from the cameras used by Mr. Adams and his counterparts back in the day.

 

But don’t let its size fool you this really is a well-equipped camera featuring.

 

 

360 degrees of front swing

19 degrees of front tilt

27mm of rear shift vertical

40mm of rear shift horizontal

150 mm maximum extension with standard monorail

295mm with long monorail

445mm with macro monorail

Available in a range of colours so long as you want anodized black that is.

 

All very impressive but what does that mean for your photography, well the highlights are below.

 

View camera movements allow for selective sharpness / selective un-sharpness

Rear shift movements for stitching wider angle images.

Focal plane shifts to increase file size

Image centered landscape / portrait selection

Built in macro extension.

camboa4.jpg

So as a view camera you can see that the DB2 really is a great piece of equipment but when you couple it with one of our IQ3 100mp digital backs from Phaseone then it becomes a truly awesome camera system. You now have a medium format, full frame sensor view camera with a resolution of 100 mp (more if you start stitching frames together) coupled with all the versatility that you could ever need.

 

Now one thing I recall about using view cameras in the past was having to check my focus by using a loupe on the rear glass and that was a pain, to say the least. Well, I’m pleased to say that those days are well and truly gone. My very expensive loupe has retired, now only making an occasional appearance to aid in the removal of splinters and the like, thank goodness. Today we have it much easier, by using the live view mode on the IQ3 back and viewing at 100% we can get that focus absolutely perfect.

 

But if that’s not quite easy enough for you how about using the WIFI ability of the IQ3 to give you live view on your iPad making the most of its large screen. Shutter release and full control over the back can also be accessed via this WIFI system thus removing any risk of camera shake spoiling your results, so that’s the cable release gone from your kit bag too.

 

So calling all the photographers who need the versatility of a view camera and the resolution of a modern top end digital back we now have you covered, dust off your Sinar lenses or hire ours and GET SHIFTING.

 

10 out of 10 for the BCR this camera is lovely and with the IQ3 on the back and some sexy glass on the front it’s even lovelier, come in and give it a go and please don’t forget to show us your beautiful moves (and tilts too).

Cheers all BB

 

camboa5.jpg

 

23
Sep
15

Bonus KOTW -Sennheiser MKE-600 and K-Tek KE110 boom pole

Sennheiser MKE-600 K-Tek KE110 boom pole

SEN2

Today’s kit is a bit of a departure from the normal for me, it doesn’t light up, take photos, film movies or anything like that but it’s still relevant to many of you folks out there. Unless you are shooting a silent movie that is.

So my brief research into the world of microphones indicates that new ones arrive about as often as my train to London Bridge is on time, hence it’s been a long wait between offerings from Sennheiser.

So I guess the big question is, was it worth the wait?

Well judging by the buzz coming from the world of sound engineers (I was pleased with that pun) it certainly was.

The MKE-600 is a short shotgun microphone much like the classic ME_66 that has proved to be an industry favorite for nearly 20 years. The MKE-600 is shorter and slimmer and comes as a one-piece unit without the option for changing the capsule as on the 66. Happily however Sennheiser has retained the AA battery compartment to allow for on board power when phantom power is not available.

As far as audio quality is concerned the 600 has improved in all areas when compared to the 66 in fact its now so good it gives the hi-end MKH-60 a run for its money and at a fraction of the price. The main difference being the omission of a attenuator switch, instead Sennheiser have opted to fix the sensitivity and SPL somewhere between pad-in and pad-out specs giving an impressive fixed noise / SPL range of 15 dB and 132 dB.

Again in comparison to the 66 the 600 has very similar pattern charts, however the 600 has a slightly wider front pick up and a slightly more gradual transition between on and off-axis pick up. This makes it easier to cue between two people talking.

Our kit comes complete with a hotshoe fitting for easy attachment to any Dslr, a foam windjammer and a dead cat.

sennheiser2

Ok so it’s not actually a dead cat as that’s a rode specific term like dead kitten but you sound guys know what I mean. (A word of warning on this, never conduct a Google image search for dead cat without the word rode involved I am still disturbed by the result) Anyway pic of one is below and for the non-sound orientated folks amongst us it is used to reduce wind noise when recording outside.

lode dead cat

So as far as my Brucie coolness rating goes its got to be around 8 out of 10 as its got better performance and shrunk in size compared to its predecessor the ME-66

One last thing to mention is our all new boom pole the K-Tek 110 that is a perfect companion for the MKE-600 especially when vertically challenged sound engineers need to interview giraffes etc. the K-Tek 110 has a five section design and a length range from 79cm to 279 cm. An all aluminum design gives it an impressively lightweight of only 661g and it comes in its own protective tube for easy of transport.

Well “that’s all folks” as far as todays post is concerned anyway, cheers.

BB

Oh and for us photographers that may be wondering what SPL stands for it’s “Sound Pressure Level”. I think that’s similar to when my 11 year old tells me to turn Led Zep down in the car.




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